Stuck in the Middle

“Start as close to the end as possible.” – #5 on Kurt Vonnegut’s “8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story

I re-read the final Harry Potter book recently (NERD ALERT), and while overall the book is well-done and satisfying and a good end to a great series, it does suffer from “middle syndrome.” There’s too much Middle in that book. Too much wandering and musing and inaction. It pays off in the end… but while you’re in it you can’t help but think, “Ugh MOVE IT ALONG!” At the end of the day, most readers want a BANG of a start that just keeps rolling to the end.

I’m FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY moving on from the Middle of my work-in-progress (all while trying to outline the sonofabitch), and I have a sinking suspicious that it’s bloated. That the middle is stagnant, boring, blah. The middle is always, ALWAYS the hardest part for me to write — and damn, you can tell. The characters, the action gets bogged down. I typically knowing my Beginnings. I typically know my Endings. I may know a few major plot points in between. It’s connecting the dots that’s hard for me.

(You know what would help with this? Oh, that’s right, AN OUTLINE. Why didn’t I think of that sooner…)

I know that I can fix this in the rewrite — what I’m sure will be a brutal rewrite — but it’s always frustrating to realize while you’re actively working on a section that it’s not all that great, and will need some serious editing down the line.

My only saving grace is that I feel like I’m emerging from the Middle and moving on towards the final third of the book. Which DOES make me feel pretty good — if I keep plugging along, I should be in good shape to reach my 2013 goal: finish the first draft and get the editing started. The only thing to do is keep writing.

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3 thoughts on “Stuck in the Middle

  1. I remember when we made outlines for our thesis stories, and I was like NO, NO, I REFUSE TO DO THIS. DON’T MAKE ME DO THIS THING. But then when I was finallyyyy done, I did find it extremely helpful.

    1. You know, I forgot we had done that. And yes, it WAS helpful. Although if my refreshed memory serves… I think mine was maybe somewhat half-assed. I don’t seem to remember doing a FULL outline.

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